Tuesday, April 12, 2016


2/3 Peoria Rye (1 1/2 oz Old Overholt)
1/4 Dry Vermouth (1 oz Noilly Prat)
1 dash Apricot Brandy (1/4 oz Rothman & Winter)
1 dash Picon Bitters (1/4 oz Amer Picon)

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

Two Wednesdays ago, I spotted what appeared to be a Brooklyn variation in Pioneers of Mixing in Elite Bars: 1903-1933 that caught my attention. At first, it was not the apricot brandy for Maraschino liqueur swap that intrigued me as much as the drink name, the Montana. The best known Montana is the brandy, dry vermouth, port trio that I have also had as a rye variation (swap the apricot and Picon here for the port for essentially the same drink). I could trace that variation as far back as Jacques Straub's 1914 book Drinks that has a gussied up version with anisette and bitters, and there were other Montanas in the literature around that time including a sloe gin version in Harry Johnson's 1882 New and Improved Bartender's Manual that was like Straub's but with sloe gin instead of brandy and port. Finally, the better known trio of brandy dry vermouth, and port that trimmed the anisette and bitters appeared in the 1935 The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book. Soon, I was curious as to how the Brooklyn structure could be tinkered with by switching things other than the Amer Picon to another liqueur like in the Bensonhurst.
This Montana began with a rye aroma with a slight fruitiness to it. Next, malt and dry wine on the sip gave way to rye and bitter orange-apricot on the swallow with a lingering apricot finish. Overall, not as magical as a Brooklyn but quite enjoyable as its own Manhattan riff.

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